Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Catherine has used the potty!

Catherine has gone to the bathroom on the potty a couple of times and we are very excited about this new development. We look forward to the days when she is out of diapers because buying diapers in Dhaka nearly requires a small loan. They are NOT cheap! It will be nice when our shipment comes with Catherine’s potty chair. We are not in full fledged potty training mode, but rather easing into the idea of it. She does love to get the toilet paper off the roll (we have pink TP here!) and flushing is quite exciting too. More later on potty training in Dhaka…

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween party

Catherine attended her first Halloween party over the week-end (held at the ARA and hosted by the DAWC-Dhaka American Women's Club, of which I am a member). She dressed up as a mermaid this year. I bought the costume from a small store that sells hand made/sewn costumes and puppets here in Dhaka. It is considered fair trade which supports local artisans. The costume cost 450 Taka or about $7. You can find out more about the shop by visiting their website at: –Happy Halloween!

Enjoying playing in mommy’s purse

Just a quick note and picture to show Miss Catherine putting on lipstick for the first time. I still recall a picture of myself about her age, sitting at the kitchen table on Mamoo’s farm applying the stuff. Girls will be girls. She also enjoys using my chapstick from time to time and can put it on pretty well…except for the couple of times when she dug her finger into it. Yummy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Keeping in touch

We have hooked up the headphones and gotten registered on Skype! Catherine can be seen here enjoying a chat with “coach” or because she cannot say coach very well, she calls him “Bobby”. It is wonderful because he has a camera on his end and he can wave and when she has headphones on, she can hear him say things like “want to go in the boat?” We have also talked to Kathy and Jerry in Valpo on Skype and they have a webcam too. I am going to get a webcam this week. I have had to find a day where I have several hours to go as the computer store is downtown. Downtown is anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours away with traffic, so you have to plan accordingly. Dave and I both have Skype accounts and still use our University of Michigan email addresses, so you can find our Skype address by seearching under the umich addresses. Please give us a call sometime! Hope to be talking to you soon!

Monday, October 15, 2007

What the humans in our household eat

As some of you know we are very fortunate to have our very own cook here in Dhaka! He is a great guy that can cook some really fabulous meals. He has previously cooked for a Belgian family, British family and many other expats. We are eating very well. We continue to eat chicken, pork and seafood, but no red meat. We eat both Bangladeshi dishes as well as more western dishes. Here are some of the things our cook has prepared for us: chicken kebabs with fried rice, spaghetti with Bolognese sauce (pictured here!) fried chicken with green beans and carrots, pork with mushrooms and b├ęchamel sauce, eggplant parmesan, shrimp and sauce over rice, shepherd’s pie (made with pork), rice with vegetables, chicken burgers, green salads with tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro and of course, the national dish of Bangladesh-chicken with a great spicy sauce served over rice!

We have taught our cook how to make salsa, which is very good. We also eat out and have been to a good Thai restaurant as well as had many good meals at the expat clubs here. We had a good “pie” recently at the British club-it had chicken and mushrooms in a great crust. We have also eaten fajitas, shawarmas and pizza! We have eaten too many good desserts here and have found the chocolate cake and cupcakes to be a bit lacking but the vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cream pie, and milkshakes to be just like home-yummy! I am sure we will try more local dishes as our bellies get more acclimated to the region and will have more to share about those culinary delights in a later post! That’s it for now.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So Why Bangladesh?

A number of people, including co-workers, friends and family, both here and at home have asked, “So why Bangladesh?” This is a great question that doesn’t have a simple answer other than maybe “why not!” I suppose leaving it at just that would be plain rude so I’ll do my best to give some background and begin to provide an answer. As many of you know Robin and I met in the Peace Corps in the early nineties, and had the intention even then of living overseas and working in international development. After three masters degrees and numerous years of work experience in A2 and DC, we felt that it was the right time, both in terms of family and our careers, to move overseas. Fortunately, in early summer ‘07, a field assignment opportunity opened up with my company’s Bangladesh office that focuses on small and medium enterprise development in Bangladesh and other South Asia countries. Even though my primary focus is to help streamline and strengthen internal operations (i.e., project management practices), I hope to get involved in some of our enterprise development work. In addition to this field assignment opening up, which is what technically brought us here, Robin felt – even before our moving – that Bangladesh had good opportunities for her in public health. I suppose this still doesn’t quite answer the question since we could’ve found something back in Sub-Saharan Africa where we’ve both worked before. For me, I first became interested in Bangladesh after making a couple of work-related trips here in 2005. It was during these trips that I learned about the unique work that the team here has been doing in developing markets in key industrial sectors. My initial interest turned more to a desire to live and work in Bangladesh after reading Muhammad Yunis’s amazing story about Grameen Bank and the development and expansion of microcredit in Bangladesh. As we meet more people and get settled into our lives here, I’m sure our answer to this question will likely evolve further. We’ll keep you posted.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Dog food in Bangladesh

First of all, Molson has been eating the same wonderful dog food since he was born, Premium Edge (Lamb with rice-the purple bag). This is not your typical Kibbles and Bits brand you can buy at any grocery store or even PetSmart. We used to buy it at a specialty pet store in DC. It was recommended to us from the breeder that sold us Molson back in Michigan. She said she had seen too many golden retrievers with poor diets die prematurely from various cancers and other ailments and she was convinced it was directly correlated to their diets. We were not going to take any chances with our first baby! Premium Edge it would be! So, we used precious cargo space in our luggage and brought several bags of Premium Edge with us to Bangladesh a month ago! Well, we have been here just over a month and we are starting to run low. So, now we begin the weaning process. Our cook is preparing a recipe for Molson that we mix with his dry Premium Edge food. He LOVES it! Soon he will be eating this diet and no Premium Edge food at all. Molson’s new diet (one of several recipes we will use) is:
1lb. of browned ground beef
2 cups cooked brown rice
1-2 lb. of homemade yogurt
1 lb. mixed vegetables (all steamed and chopped small)
Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, etc.

Our cook also knows what is safe for Molson to eat: lean meat, poultry, organ meats, cooked eggs, yogurt, cheese, rice, potatoes, beans and lots of vegetables and what is NOT safe for Molson to eat: grapes, raisins, onion, garlic, chocolate, salt, or raw meat.

FYI: you CAN buy dog food here in the grocery stores. But the bags are extremely small (i.e. Molson could go through a bag in about a week) and they cost about $30 per bag!

If you know of good homemade dog food recipes, please share them with me/us. That’s it for now.